Our Work

Over decades of experience, we’ve seen that one of the most consistent ways to overcome the systematic barriers to a woman’s success has been increased participation by women in local, regional and national legislative bodies as empowered change agents. 

Building on this experience and evidence, we invest in strengthening the leadership skills and capacities of elected women who serve in the gram panchayats (village councils) in India. Our work to address issues of hunger, poverty, social and gender inequalities reaches  nearly 5 million people across five states – Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand – in India.

In 1992, the 73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution mandated that one-third of all seats in panchayats (village councils) be reserved for women, especially Dalit and Adivasi women, bringing more than one million women into elected office. We partner with Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) to become effective and respected leaders in their communities.

The two core programme strategies pivot around leadership development programs that support elected women in becoming effective and respected leaders in their communities. Similarly, the adolescent girls program strengthens adolescent girls’ voice, agency and choice through girls’ leadership workshops, life-skills education and need-based interventions. 

Women’s Leadership Development

In seizing the opportunity of the 73rd amendment (quotas for women), The Hunger Project (India) builds leadership skills and mentors women who have largely for the first time stepped into public office about their roles and responsibilities as panchayat leaders. The overall goal in this leadership development is for women in the community to lead, own and shape democratic development processes that give priority to basic services like water, sanitation, education, health care and an efficient food system.

Women’s Leadership Workshops (WLWs) are the first major capacity-building initiative of THP India’s five-year cycle with first-time elected women representatives (EWRs). These three-day workshops are participatory in nature, and are conducted primarily to build confidence among EWRs and provide them with information and knowledge about their key roles and responsibilities in their panchayats. Over the last two decades, we have engaged with 197,121 Elected Women Representatives. 

As of today, they are exercising their leadership to ensure improved access to various rights, entitlements and government schemes – quality education, health services, food security, nutrition, water, sanitation, electricity, forest conservation, and safe and violence-free panchayats.

Adolescent Girls Program

In 2015, the Adolescent Girls program began to mobilize adolescent girls in gram panchayats by undertaking interventions that aim to strengthen their voice and agency, demand accountability of the different stakeholders and advance girls’ rights. For instance, Girls Leadership Workshops and the formation of peer networks in the form of Sukanya Club (Bihar) and Kishori meetings (Karnataka) remain integral elements of the program where girls learn how to articulate their needs and advocate for change in their communities. 

The program’s two-pronged approach combines elements of girl-centric leadership programming that promotes an empowered sense of self with an intentional focus on making local governance institutions responsive to girls’ needs and rights. 

Together, elected women leaders and adolescent girls are mobilized to gain access rights and entitlements in the domain of health, education, social protection, legal remedies, livelihoods and skill building. This program enables adolescent girls, in partnership with elected women representatives, to engage as active citizens.

Our interventions remain committed to ensuring gender equality and a just society. It continues to explore new and innovative pathways that seek to amplify voice and agency and strengthen the practices of good governance, accountability and transparency in villages.

Read: Local Democracy Deepens in Panchayats

The Hunger Project India
11/1, Sarvapriya Vihar
New Delhi – 110 016

Phone: +91 11 41688847 / 40519106 / 40519075




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